The RSPCA and Cats Protection explain how to recognize signs of dehydration and what you can do to protect your pets
With a mini-heatwave predicted for the coming months, pet owners are reminded to plan ahead to keep their pets as comfortable and safe as possible.
This includes giving dogs chilled or frozen toys and treats, or even a paddling pool in the backyard, and keeping cats indoors when the sun is at its hottest.
Animal rights groups have issued strong warnings to dog owners about the risks of leaving dogs in cars, walking dogs in hot weather and burning their pads on scorching sidewalks.
NationalWorld spoke to experts for the best advice on how to keep dogs and cats cool this summer, how to spot signs of dehydration, and what’s the best course of action if these issues arise.
Why not walk the dog in hot weather?
Esme Wheeler, RSPCA specialist on dog welfare, said owners can provide a paddling pool and make frozen dog treats to keep their pets cool and entertained if they’re worried about missing exercise in hot weather.
When it comes to walking dogs in hot weather, Ms Wheeler said: “Many people still put their dogs at risk, even if it’s just a short walk or taking them to places like fields and beaches with little or no shade. “
She added: “The truth is that walking dogs in hot weather can be a silent killer.
“All dog breeds are at risk, but if your dog has an underlying health condition, particularly one that affects their breathing, they could overheat more easily, with others at greater risk, including overweight dogs, double-coated dogs and some large and medium-sized breeds flat face.
The RSPCA sends a simple message: never leave a dog in a hot car because ‘not long’ is too long and when it comes to walks, ‘when in doubt, don’t go out’.
How do you keep dogs cool in the summer?
The RSPCA offered advice to dog owners on how to keep their pets cool in the coming summer months.
- Exercise dogs early in the morning or late in the evening when temperatures are cooler.
- Avoid overexerting dogs in warm weather and do not encourage them to overexert themselves while playing.
- If you know your dog has an underlying health condition, then use extra caution in hot weather or consider skipping walks altogether.
- Provide constant access to fresh, clean water and cool, shaded resting places.
- Avoid dogs on long days in the heat.
- Try making some frozen dog treats.
- Wrap an ice pack or frozen water bottle in a dishcloth, or use damp towels for your pet to lie on.
- Use cold treats from the fridge for extra moisture, or make a popsicle for your dog with pet-friendly ingredients.
- Freeze your dog’s water bowl or kong, or add ice cubes to your pet’s bowl.
- Fill a paddling pool or hose down for your dog to play in, but always supervise them around water.
- If necessary, use pet-safe sunscreen on exposed areas of your pet’s skin
What are the signs that a dog is dehydrated?
dr Dan O’Neill, Associate Professor of Companion Animal Epidemiology at the Royal Veterinary College, said unexercised and dehydrated dogs cool down more slowly than athletically fit and well-hydrated dogs.
“So if your dog has been injured, is unwell, or just hasn’t been moving as much as you might have liked lately, he’ll get hot faster and take longer to cool down while exercising,” he said.
The signs of heat-related illness in dogs are:
- Excessive panting that does not stop when the dog is resting.
- Difficulty breathing, especially if you hear unusual sounds or blue/grey discoloration of the gums or tongue.
- Unusual tiredness – getting tired earlier than normal.
- Behavior changes – lying down and stumbling more often.
- less desire to play.
What should I do if I notice these signs?
The RSPCA said pet owners should take these actions if dogs are getting too hot.
- Discourage them from exercising
- Move them to the shadows
- Place them in water and/or pour it over them
- Talk to a vet if you’re concerned
What are the best ways to keep cats cool in the summer?
The Cats Protection veterinary team has given NationalWorld their best advice on how to protect your cats from the sun.
- Keep indoor cats indoors when the sun is at its hottest, usually between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
- Talk to a vet about cat-friendly sunscreen and how to apply it.
- Provide sufficient shade in the outdoor area, e.g. B. cat skins, large boxes or densely set plant beds.
- Always provide an outdoor water source as there is a risk of your cat becoming dehydrated in the heat.
- To prevent cats from feeling overheated, wrap a plastic bottle of frozen water in a towel and place it in a place the cat frequents.
- Make sure your cat has easy access to an indoor area so she can escape the sun if she wants to.
- Place fans around the house to keep the air circulating, and remember not to point the fan directly at your cat.
Which breed of cat is more likely to suffer in summer?
Sarah Elliott, Central Veterinary Officer for Cats Protection, said white and pale cats are more prone to sun damage.
She said: “They don’t have a pigment called melanin in their skin, which protects people from sunlight.
“This can leave them vulnerable to sun damage – usually around the ears.”
She added: “Over time, the damage caused by the sun’s ultraviolet rays can increase the risk of skin damage and cancer.
“Cats with unpigmented noses or ears are also much more susceptible to sun damage and need extra sun protection.”
Can you use sunscreen on cats?
Cat protection said sunscreen can be used on white cats or cats with thin or no hair.
The charity said: “Applying sunscreen to vulnerable areas provides protection and helps prevent sun damage.
“When choosing a sunscreen for your cat, use one made specifically for pets and when in doubt, speak to your veterinarian for a recommendation.”
When applying, focus on the cat’s nose, tips of ears, stomach and groin, and anywhere there is thin to no fur.
When choosing a sunscreen, it’s important to avoid ingredients like zinc oxide and a group of chemicals called salicylates.
Cats Protection said: “Repeated exposure to zinc oxide on the skin can lead to zinc toxicity, which can damage red blood cells and also cause an upset stomach or allergic reaction if ingested.
“If eaten in large amounts, it can even cause stomach ulcers or liver problems, although this is rare.”
Also, make sure the sunscreen contains salicylates — natural chemicals most commonly used in nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to treat pain, fever, and inflammation.
Cats are particularly susceptible to salicylate toxicity.
How can you tell if my cat is dehydrated?
Normal hydration is important for cats as it helps maintain a normal body temperature, good circulation and removes waste products.
To determine if your cat is dehydrated, here are Cat Protection’s top tips:
- Assess your cat’s gums. If your cat’s gums are sticky or sticky, this may be the first sign of dehydration.
- Test skin elasticity. In a well-hydrated cat, the skin should snap back into place immediately. If not, it could well be dehydrated.
- Check your cat’s eyes. Severely sunken eyes that appear dry can indicate significant dehydration.
- Feel your cat’s paws. If paws feel cool or cold, this could be a sign of dehydration.
- If you suspect dehydration, please seek veterinary advice.
How can you keep your cat hydrated?
Cats Protection has given the best advice on how to keep your cats hydrated over the summer.
- Avoid plastic bowls. In the heat, these can falsify the taste of the water. Use glass, ceramic, or metal instead.
- Place water bowls away from food bowls. Cats don’t like to drink in the same place they eat.
- Make sure the water bowl is large and also has a large surface area.
- Refill with water so your cat doesn’t have to put its head in the bowl and to ensure your cat isn’t left without water.
- Many cats prefer running water, so try offering a cat fountain.
- Placing water bowls in different places around the house helps cats always find a place to drink.
- When you feed your cat canned food, small amounts of water can be mixed into the food, increasing fluid intake.
https://www.nationalworld.com/news/offbeat/dogs-cats-cool-summer-experts-signs-dehydration-hot-walk-pet-3710392 Expert advice on how dogs and cats stay cool in the summer